The people of God have been living in the “valley of the shadow of death” for many years. The promises God had given to His people from the very beginning, as recorded in the Bible, have now found fulfillment in the birth of a baby in the little town of Bethlehem. The song writer says, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee (the Christ child!) tonight.” This child will crush the head of the serpent through whom the deception of doubt caused death to ring its bell in all human existence. As the famous writer said we don’t need to send to know for whom the death bell tolls. It tolls for thee!

But Zechariah’s song, the Benedictus, is the song celebrating John the Baptist’s birth. He will be the voice of the one crying in the wilderness for everyone to make way, open the doors of their life, to receive with great joy the coming redeemer, the Christ child. It’s really not as much about John as it is his role as the forerunner. The song recites the promises of redemption to Abraham, David and all God’s people. These promises, the dreams of all mankind, are now being fulfilled. His song ends with, “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79). The redemption of man from death’s grasp and the establishment of eternal life through the one and only redeemer, the Christ child, have made their entrance.

The sleep of death is shattered. It’s time to awake to the reality of eternal life! I don’t remember who said this, but the best way to make your dreams to come true is to wake up to the realities of life. We need to be dreamers who are also players. It’s time to wake up and sing the songs of redemption and to celebrate our redeemer in the Christ child. The night has past, the dayspring is dawning. Eugene Peterson’s “The Message” translation of the Psalms renders Psalm 14:5-7 as, “Night is coming for them, and a nightmare, for God takes the side of victims. Do you think you can mess with the dreams of the poor? You can’t, for God makes their dreams come true. Is there anyone around to save Israel? Yes. God is around; GOD turns life around. Turned-around Jacob skips rope; turned-around Israel sings laughter.”